Most of us spend at least 40 hours per week at work. It makes sense that we'd want to have friends there.
Our friends are not only our break buddies and lunch dates, they're our allies, our colleagues, and collaborators. Work would be a miserable place if you didn't have someone to bounce ideas off of, to vent over a coffee with or with whom to share small successes.
What happens when you climb the ladder and become the boss, or when you're transplanted into a new office? Roles change, but that doesn't mean that you've got to cut your office buddies off completely. You can maintain a friendly relationship and even make new friends while still being respected as a leader.
The good news that little has changed about making friends since you attended middle school. Friends are still won by being friendly, reliable, and pleasant to be around.
There are some nuances since your pre-teen days, however, which is why we've created this guide to making friends at work:
Don't be afraid to put yourself out there
When you're the new girl or guy at work, circles have already been established. In a way, people are more afraid of you than you are wary of them.
Will you be able to work together well? Will you be difficult?
Don't be shy to say hello with a friendly smile, to show that you're a person first, and a leader second.
Be in the know about what your office is fanatical about
Every office has an obsession--whether it's a sports team or a popular new TV show. Even if you're not a baseball fan, or a hockey fan, or watch that particular program, do make it your business to know a little bit about it.
Nobody is telling you to pretend to be someone you're not, and you don't have to make it your 'new thing,' but do know what is happening so that you can carry on a conversation about it--and fit in.
Take an interest in your colleagues
Rather than talk incessantly about yourself and your plans for the weekend, ask about others.
Ask they about their families, how long they have been with the company for, where they went to school, and what their current project entails.
People love to talk about themselves. Give them an opening to do so and you'll likely have a fan for life.
Ask someone out for lunch
The next time you're heading down to the work cafeteria, ask a colleague if he or she would like to join you. Same goes for coffee breaks.
If you're going down there anyway, it's nice to have some company. You can catch up at the same time. It's not necessary to pick up the tab, but it's nice to do so if someone has spoken up for you, or did you a favor.
Consider adding them on social media
This is a tricky one, but depending on your workplace, it might be a nice move to add your colleagues to your social media friends list.
Your coworkers can see all of your pictures (you must be careful of what you post, but that's an entire article altogether) and see what you're like outside of work. Sometimes, seeing someone in his or her "natural habitat" helps to create bonds in the workplace.
Bonus: As a boss, this also allows you to keep tabs on how employees are representing the business.
Don't skip out on work events
At the end of the day, you just want to go home. You're tired. You're hungry. But at least once in awhile, do say yes to colleagues' plans to grab dinner together or drinks at the local pub.
This is good employee bonding time and will help create tighter ties than the regular staff meetings. Hanging out with your colleagues can get a little sticky when you're supposed to be their superior, so you will need to pick and choose these events wisely.
You'll find these relationships pay off at work, too.
Do you have any tips or tricks related to interoffice friendships? Let me know via Twitter.